The potent Dragons delivered another lethal blow to their rivals when they maintained their spot at the top of the ladder with a tidy 22 – 4 win ahead of the Sharks at Toyota Stadium on Sunday.
St George Illawarra have totally dominated the premiership so far this season, and are two wins and two competition points above their closest rivals the Panthers after securing their third successive win on Sunday.
Cronulla, on the other hand, are still hanging around the bottom of the ladder in 13th sport having had just four wins this year with their finals dreams looking all but over.
The Dragons began their four-tries-to-one win 12 minutes in when rookie Kyle Stanley scored his first try of an eventual match double to open their account. Soward missed the kick but the Dragons were still in front 4 – 0.
Just six minutes later St George were awarded a penalty and Soward booted the ball through the posts to extend their lead to six.
Twenty seven minutes into the game the Sharks scored their first when Isaac Gordon got over, but without the conversion, four points would be all they could come up with for the match and they still trailed by two heading into the break.
Back in the second half the Dragons took control and were able to get in three unanswered tries while keeping Cronulla from getting any more points on the board.
First speedy winger Brett Morris, backing up from a listless Origin performance, scored six minutes back from the break, the conversion making it 12 – 4.
Then in an intense and controversial final 10 minutes of play, things went the Dragons way leading them to a strong win.
First the Sharks were denied a try when referee Tony Archer denied Paul Gallen a try without consulting the video ref saying the Origin rep was held up. After the ruling, Cronulla lost all momentum and any chance of an upset.
This gave the Dragons all the confidence they needed and moments later Stanley completed his double in the 72nd minute before Jason Nightingale added some gloss to the score with a 76th minute four pointer. Soward converted one from two and the Dragons came away the winners 22 – 4.
It was a performance that proved the depth of the Dragons, after they played without a number of their first choice players including the injured Blues duo of Michael Weyman and Matt Cooper.
This week the Dragons kick Round 16 off when they face off against the Wests Tigers at WIN Jubilee Stadium, while the Sharks face another low ranking team when they play the Cowboys at Dairy Farmers Stadium. Both games should be very evenly matched and definitely worth a punt on so check out the odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.